The King of Stories -- Blind Sheep, Blind Shepherds, and the Door of Life

Introductory note from Jason Pratt: see here for the previous entry; and see here for the first entry of the series. (It explains what I'm doing, and how, and contains the Johannine prologue.)

Blind Sheep, Blind Shepherds, and the Door of Life

Now (says the Evangelist, telling of something several months later), the Jewish Feast of Tabernacles (early-to-mid autumn) was near.

So the brothers of Jesus said to Him: "Leave here and go into Judea, so your disciples (there) may also behold your works which you are doing. For no one does anything in hiding when he is seeking publicity--if you are doing these things, reveal yourself to the world!"

For not even His brothers were trusting Him (to know what He was doing).

Jesus therefore said to them, "This is not My season yet; but the season for you is always here. The world cannot hate you; but it hates Me, because I testify about it that its acts are evil.

"Go up to the feast yourselves; I am not going up to this feast, for My time hasn't fully come."

And saying these things to them, He stays in Galilee.

Yet as His brothers went up to the festival, then He also went up, not publicly but hid.


Now it happened on the next occasion... (says the Scholar taking his own turn temporarily)

[Footnote: the Scholar's grammar is a little odd in introducing this incident. The general impression is that this occurs on a journey after the one he has just described the beginning of. Putting various story contexts together, it happens to fit fairly well with Jesus going down to Jerusalem from the Galilee region by a route that would be normally avoided: the route through Samaria.]

Jesus went into a city called Nain (about five miles southeast of Nazareth, on the less-used Samarian route to Jerusalem from the Galilee region.) And He was going together with a vast crowd and a considerable number of His disciples. (But not likely a vast crowd of Jews from Galilee in any case!)

Now as He nears the gate of the city--look! A mother's only-begotten son is being taken out, dead (to be entombed outside the city). And she was a widow; and a sizeable crowd of the city was with her.

And seeing her, the Lord has compassion on her; and said to her, "Do not weep!"

Now approaching, He touches the bier (on which the widow's son was laid); and those bearing it stand still.

And He said: "Young man, to you I am saying, get up!!" [Footnote: the same phrase used to 'awaken' the daughter of Jairus, as if she had been only in a coma.]

And the dead one sits up and begins to be speaking! And He gives him back to his mother.

Now fear gripped them all; and they began praising God, saying: "A mighty prophet was raised among us!" and "God visits His people!"

And this saying concerning Him went out into the whole of Judea and the countryside round about.


So the Jews (the Evangelist says, picking back up his end of the tale) were searching for Him at the feast, saying, "Where is he??"

And there was a lot of muttering in the crowds about Him; some indeed saying, "He is good!" while others said, "Not!! But he is deceiving the people!"

However, no one boldly spoke about Him, due to fear of the Jews (meaning the Jewish leaders).


Now passing along, He saw a man blind from birth.

And His disciples asked Him, saying, "Rabbi, who sinned?--this man or his parents, that he must be born blind?"

Jesus answered, "Neither this man sinned, nor his parents. But that the works of God may be displayed in him, I must be working the works of Him Who sends Me while it is day. Night is coming, when no one can work.

"While I am in the world, I am the light of the world!"

When He had said this, He spat on the ground, made clay of the spit, and applied the clay to his eyes, saying to him, "Go, wash in the pool of Siloam"--which is translated 'Sent' (adds the Evangelist for his audience).

So he goes away, and washes--and returned, seeing!

The neighbors and the ones who previously saw him as a beggar, said, "Isn't this the one who used to sit and beg?"

Others were saying, "This is him!" yet others were saying, "No--but he looks like him!"

Yet he said, "I am he!"

So they asked him, "How were your eyes opened!?"

He answered: "The man called Jesus made clay and rubbed my eyes and said to me, 'Go to Siloam and wash'; so I went away and washed--and I received sight!"

And they said to him, "Where is he??"

He said, "... ... I do not know."


They are leading him who once was blind toward the Pharisees.

Now it was on a Sabbath day that Jesus makes mud and opens his eyes.

So the Pharisees also asked him how he got his sight. And he said to them, "He places mud on my eyes, and I wash--and I am seeing."

Then some of the Pharisees said, "This man is not from God, for he is not keeping the Sabbath!"

But others (among the Pharisees) said, "How can a sinner be doing such attesting signs??"

And there was division among them. So they questioned the blind man again: "What do you say about him, since he opened your eyes?"

And he said, "He is a prophet!"

So the Jews (i.e. these oppositional Jewish leaders) did not believe that he had ever been blind and received his sight--until they summoned the parents of the very one receiving his sight.

Now they asked them, saying: "Is this your son--the one you say was blind from birth? How then is he seeing now?"

So his parents answered, saying: "We know this man is our son, born blind from birth; but we have no idea how he can see now, and we have no clue who opened his eyes! Ask him!--he has come of age! He can speak on his own behalf!"

His parents said these things because they feared the Jews; for the Jews (i.e. this particular group of leaders) had already agreed that anyone avowing Him as the Anointed King should be put out from the synagogue. So his parents say, "He is of (accountable) age; ask of him!"

So a second time they called the man who had been blind, saying to him: "Give glory to God (instead)--we know this man is a sinner!"

So he answered, "If he is a sinner, I am not aware of it! One thing I am quite aware of: I was blind, but now I see!!"

So they said to him again, "What did he do to you? How did he open your eyes??"

He answered them, "I told you already, and you do not hear! Why are you wanting to hear it again? Do you also want to become his disciples!?"

Now they reviled him and said, "You are his disciple, but we are disciples of Moses! We know that God has spoken to Moses; but as for this man, we have no idea where he is coming from!!"

The man answered and said to them, "Well, here is a marvelous thing!--that you do not know where he is from, and yet he opened my eyes!! We know God doesn't hear sinners, but if anyone is revering God and does His will, He listens to him. Since the beginning of time it has never been heard that anyone opens the eyes of one born blind!--if this man was not from God, he absolutely could not do these things!!"

They answered and said to him, "You were born entirely in sin! (i.e. 'you son of a ****!') --and you are teaching us!?"

And they put him out.


Jesus heard they had put him out (continues the Evangelist); and finding him, He said:

"Do you believe in the Son of Man?"

He answered and said, "And who is he, Sir, that I may believe in him?"

And Jesus said to him: "You have seen Him; and He is also speaking with you!"

And he strongly declared: "Master! I believe!!!"

And he bowed with his face to the ground.


Now Jesus says to him, "I came into this world for judgment: that those who do not see may be seeing, and seers may become blind."

The Pharisees with Him (currently tailing Him, but maybe also the ones who had partially supported Him in the recent division) heard these things and said to Him: "We are not also blind, are we?"

Jesus said to them: "If you were blind, you would have no sin; but you are still saying 'We see!' So your sin is remaining.

"I promise, I promise, I tell you the truth: he who does not go through the door into the fold of the sheep, but climbs up by another way, is a thief and a rebel.

"Now he who enters through the door is the shepherd of the sheep.

"To him the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep are hearing his voice, and he is calling his sheep by name and leading them out. When he puts out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep are following after because they know his voice.

"Now, a stranger they absolutely will not follow, but will flee from him, for they are not familiar with the voice of those outside."

This proverb Jesus spoke to them; but they did not understand what these things were, which He was saying to them.

So Jesus said to them again:

"I promise, I promise, I tell you the truth: I am the Door of the sheep!

"All the ones who came before Me are but thieves and rebels; and the sheep do not hear them.

"I am the Door. If anyone ever enters through Me, he shall be saved; and so go in and out, finding pasture!

"The thief comes only to steal and kill and sacrifice (the sheep).

"I came so they might have God's own life, and have it super-abundantly!

"I am the Good Shepherd!

"The Good Shepherd lays down His life for the sheep.

"But the hireling, who is not a shepherd and who does not own the sheep, beholds the coming wolf and leaves the sheep and runs away!--and the wolf snatches them, and scatters them! Yet the hireling flees because he is a hireling, and does not care about the sheep!

"I am the Good Shepherd; and I know My own--and My own, know Me... even as the Father knows Me and I know the Father.

"And I am laying down My soul, for the sheep.

"And I have other sheep as well, which are not of this fold! I must lead them also, and they will be hearing My voice--and so there will be one flock... one Shepherd!!

"For this reason the Father loves Me: because I lay down My soul... so that I may receive it again!

"No one takes it away from Me!--but I will lay it down by My own choice. I have the right to lay it down; and I have the right to receive it again!

"I received this command from My Father."

And so a division arose again among the Jews (i.e. the Jewish leaders), because of these words; and many of them were saying: "He is demented and is insane!--why do you keep listening to him??"

Yet others were saying, "These are not the declarations of a demoniac." "No demon can open the eyes of the blind!"

Luke 7:11-17
John 7:2-13
John 9:1-41
John 10:1-21

[Next time: The Good Portion]


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